Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, BBM, Google Plus, Whatsapp – the list is endless. If you happen to be tech savy or hate to be left behind, there is a good chance you are active on many, if not all of these platforms. A good chance you could be a victim of social media addiction.
Well, the big question really is: when does active social media participation become an addiction?
Let us consider a few realities you perhaps have not given thought to.
You have more Facebook friends than real friends. In fact, your neighbours are not next door but on your wall. Your voice is more active on Twitter. In fact, you would rather address it on the trending hashtag than take an action.
Or, maybe you view people or places by how much value they can add to your next selfie.
If you spend more time working on your LinkedIn profile than doing actual work, then your profile is actually more employable than you are. Regardless of your excuses, you are suffering from addiction.
When I lost my precious phone early this year, little did I know that I was on a quest to discover an addiction, and thus decide on my interaction with the social media world. Before then, the first thing I did every morning was reach for my phone, switch off my alarm, and scroll through updated feeds on my phone. All through the day, I was either posting quotes or engaging political opposition.
After the loss, I realised I was able to focus with full attention on my work without reaching out for my phone. I also started paying attention to my surroundings and noticed that there were nuanced benefits I had lost in the name of being fastidous. I slept more. I spent more time on things that truly matter.
While I must admit that it is hard to wean yourself off addictions, I will share some benefits you stand to gain from my personal experience:
First, you clear the mind clutters. Be it watching videos after videos, or reading posts of others. By the time you realize it, you have spent a great amount of time and become too tired to do anything else. Plus, most of the stuff you see, though entertaining, are not as important as you think.
Second, you get more time for productive work. You will be able to do more important tasks. When last did you read a full book? When last did you write an article? When last did you learn a new skill on your own. It is time to re-organize your schedule and create time for useful activities.
Third, switching off is necessary to help you re-connect with yourself. Being connected to the internet at all times will keep you engaged, with very little time to switch on mentally. Think about it: how many life issues can you really answer without resulting to Google? How many times did you go beyond the first page on a Google search? The truth is many of us have become mentally lazy.
Fourth, weaning brings you out from the world of illusion to reality. Think about this, does the world which you and everyone on your timeline project in their pictures reflect their realities? You need to get off taking selfies in malls and hotels to creating the realities you want to project with planning and hard-work
How do you go about it?
First off, you need to realize that these platforms are made for you to use, not the other way round. They are tools, not lifestyles.
Here are a few tips to help you:
- Track Your Time Online – The simplest way to ensure you aren’t wasting time in any one place is to deliberately gauge your time. Use a stopwatch and set a limit. When time is up, log out, regardless of what’s left. There will always be a tomorrow.
- Limit Your Memberships – You do not need to be on 15 different networks. In fact, there is no need for even 2 memberships of sites that do the same thing. For instance, you can choose Facebook or Myspace, but not both.
- Use Your Networks Productively – There is more to social media than it being your personal diary: Impact lives, create useful connections and stand for a cause.
- Prioritize – Use these tools only when your work has been done, or during down time. Don’t spend time updating your profile or changing your pic when there is work to be done.
- Stop Procrastinating – Many times we get on Facebook or twitter when we have real work that we just don’t want to do. Stop that! Get the work done. Once you finish you’ll have all the time in the world to spend making friends on Facebook.
- Remove the Cellphone Apps – Now, this dosage is for chronic addiction. Save your social networking for when you are behind the desk and limit the distractions throughout the day. If that does not work, give out your phone!
Check out this illustration:
In all, remember that these sites are built to make money, not make you better or productive (really!). Nobody is looking out for you except you (and we at Olisa.tv). Now rise up and wean yourself off that addiction and be productive again!